Briefing Skipper: Peace talks, hiker, Gration, North Korea
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Sharm el-Sheikh for Jerusalem after the first full day of the second round in the direct talks between the Israelis and ...
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department's daily presser so you don't have to. These are the highlights of Tuesday's briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Tuesday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Sharm el-Sheikh for Jerusalem after the first full day of the second round in the direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held bilateral meetings with Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Then Clinton met with Netanyahu and Abbas separately before meeting with them together along with Special Envoy George Mitchell for 100 minutes. Next, Mubarak hosted a lunch for everybody. Then, there was another three way meeting between Clinton, Netanyahu, and Abbas. Before getting on the plane, Clinton also found time for UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.
- Mitchell gave a mini press conference in Egypt but didn’t really give any details about any progress that might have been made. "Today, the parties have begun a serious discussion on core issues," Mitchell said. "President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to agree that these negotiations, whose goal is to resolve all core issues, can be completed within one year." On the issue of Israel extending the settlement freeze, Mitchell reiterated American calls for such action but didn’t claim movement. "We continue our efforts to make progress, and we believe that we are moving in the right direction overall," he said. Mitchell will stay in the region after Clinton leaves and go on to Syria and Lebanon.
- One of the American hikers who got arrested for wandering into Iran, Sarah Shourd, left Tehran for Muscat, Oman, on her way home after being released. The Oman government provided an escort and a plane and U.S. officials will greet Shroud when she gets to the U.S. Clinton issued a statement Tuesday, which read in part, "Sarah’s fiancé Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and other U.S. citizens remain detained or missing in Iran. We urge Iranian authorities to extend the same consideration to them by resolving their cases without delay and allowing them to immediately return to their families."
- Sudan Special Envoy Scott Gration returned from his trip to Juba and Khartoum. Crowley’s office released a document that claims the Obama administration is intensifying its work regarding Sudan in anticipation of the upcoming referendum on North-South separation. The document also claims that the administration is using both carrots and sticks to pressure both sides to play fair. "In meetings in Khartoum, [Gration] made clear to the Sudanese Government that normalization of relations with the United States depends on the full implementation of the CPA and peace and accountability in Darfur," it reads. "He also made clear that there are a range of consequences that will be deployed, if the situation in Sudan deteriorates or fails to make progress, including additional sanctions." The document also says that if both sides agree on post-referendum principles, the Obama administration will support sending a U.S. ambassador there.
- Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Special Envoy Sung Kim, and the NSC’s Daniel Russel were in Tokyo Tuesday for meetings on the North Korea issue. They met with Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asia bureau director Akitaka Saiki. The group will be in Beijing next. "We have no direct talks with North Korea planned at this point," Crowley said.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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